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More and more Americans find themselves in some way touched by the opioid epidemic. But while many have observed the effects of the crisis, Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio is the first book on this public health emergency composed entirely of first-person accounts. The collection unfolds across fifty gripping accounts by Ohioans at the center of the national epidemic. Shared through personal stories, poetry, interviews, and photos, these perspectives transcend typical one-dimensional portrayals of the crisis to offer a mosaic of how politics, religion, sports, economics, culture, race, and sexual orientation intersect in and around the epidemic.
Themes of pain and healing, despair and hope are woven throughout accounts of families who have lost loved ones to addiction, stories of survival, and experiences of working on the front lines in communities. In an attempt to give every voice the chance to be heard, Not Far from Me features contributors from across the state as they engage with the pain of opioid abuse and overdose, as well as the hope that personal- and community-level transformation brings. Ultimately, Not Far from Me humanizes the battle against addiction, challenges the stigma surrounding drug users, and unflinchingly faces the reality of the American opioid epidemic.
About the Author
Daniel Skinner, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dublin, Ohio.
Berkeley Franz, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Community-Based Health in the Department of Social Medicine at Ohio University, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio.
“This important collection of responses to Ohio’s opioid crisis takes us through the grief-work of teachers, poets, coaches, clergy, families, physicians, and the addicted, showing us, on their own terms, what it is like to live in a burdened place. The consequences of the moral lapses of the pharmaceutical industry, policies that criminalize drug users, and politics that determine who should or should not be saved are seen here not through statistics but as forces that have shaped living communities and people who deserve a better world. These responses are a necessary antidote to the dehumanizing lens that has settled on our conversations about addiction and recovery.” —Elizabeth Catte, author of What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia
“As a journalist and storyteller, I’m convinced that only through stories of real people will the stigma surrounding addiction fade—which is what makes projects like Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio so important and worth reading. We hear from them all: doctors, addicts, poets, mothers, librarians, nurses, pastors, inmates, and football coaches. Even though the stories in this volume are about one state, and only a few people from that state, together they tell one of the crucial stories of America today.” —Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland
“As I’ve traveled throughout Ohio, I’ve heard many personal stories of opioid addiction similar to those in Not Far from Me: Stories of Opioids and Ohio. These powerful stories will increase awareness, reduce the stigma, and help us better understand the complex issue of addiction so we can turn the tide of this epidemic and save lives.” —Senator Rob Portman
“There’s not a community in our state that hasn’t been affected by opioid addiction, and it’s so important to hear the voices of the families who are being torn apart. Their stories are a powerful call to action for us to work together to fight this public health crisis.” —Senator Sherrod Brown
“So much has been written, so much news reported, so many hands have been wrung in response to Ohio’s—and the nation’s—collective dope sickness. Too often, though, the voices of those affected have been lost in the din. Not Far from Me helps redress this loss by allowing Buckeyes to tell their own stories in their own ways. I loved hearing those voices in all their tear-inducing, maddening, uplifting, defiant bravery.” —Brian Alexander, author of Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town